Alternate Side of Street Parking

This column originally appeared in Brooklyn Paper on July 14, 2007

The mystery “illegal” parker of Pierrepont Street has broken his silence! To me! Exclusively!

In my last column, I reported on the controversy surrounding alleged parking permit abuse on Pierrepont Street. The problem is so bad along the strip between Henry and Hicks streets that the Brooklyn Heights Association and Community Board 2 have been looking into whether some drivers are misusing their permit parking privileges.

BHA Executive Director Judy Stanton claims that many government employees park with “impunity” often “storing” their cars over the weekend on Pierrepont. As a result, nearly two-dozen BHA members took to the street earlier this year to write down license plates of many of the vehicles in question.

But this week, one of the owners of one of said cars spoke out on the Brooklyn Heights Blog. And the owner, neighborhood attorney and disabled advocate T.K. Small, says he was outraged by the accusations.

“I am one of the individuals who parks with a permit on Pierrepont Street in ‘flagrant disregard’ of the regulations,” Small said. “Clearly people do not know what they are talking about! As a New Yorker with a disability, I have had a New York City-issued ‘parking permit for people with disabilities’ since 1997. The regulations and instructions on the back of the permit are perfectly clear in stating where it is valid.”

Small says that the BHA’s assertion that positively no one with a permit may park in the Heights’ “No Parking” areas is incorrect.

“I don’t know what law school they went to,” Small said, adding that he resents BHA members “scribbling down” his license plate number in their attempts to catch permit violations. He adds that “by me parking on [the ‘No Parking’ side] of the street, they have more opportunities to park on the other side.”

The cantankerous Small reached fever-pitch as he poked a hole in the argument that “No Parking” zones are necessary for street-cleaning purposes.

“The streets in Brooklyn Heights are not filthy. People don’t realize how great it is here.” He’s perplexed as to why residents — and the Brooklyn Heights Association — don’t “worry about things that are more important.” He also fears that the battle of Pierrepont Street is merely the first salvo in the BHA’s real goal: residential permit parking.

“If they want to go to [that] next step, let’s just put a gate around the neighborhood,” Small argued.

But before that imaginary (or real?) gate goes up, Heights folks still have more complaining to do over the parking quandary. The mania over the Pierrepoint parking has longtime state Sen. Martin Connor (D–Brooklyn Heights) engulfed in the “parking patrol’s” crosshairs.

When asked about his own alleged misuse of his parking permit in the “No Parking” area on Pierrepont, Connor says that he’s only parked there on rare occasions or to load and unload his car. He usually parks in a garage on Love Lane, which closes at 1 am. However, when the senator was caring for his sick mother in April, he felt he needed all-day access to his vehicle, so he parked on the street with his permit.

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